Fall 2007 Departmental News

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Central College Coe College
Iowa State University Mathematics Department Luther College
Wartburg College  

(If your institution has not yet reported, it is not too late.)

Central College
Al Hibbard

Mark Mills recently completed his 2006-2007 sabbatical leave at Pella Corporation (a.k.a., Pella Windows). His main responsibilities were in the Test Lab where he performed data analysis and got involved in a couple of long-term tests of windows. In addition, he was able to be involved in a couple of projects with people in other parts of the company where his mathematical skills were useful. He also had the opportunity to visit with people in other parts of the company to get a better understanding of where mathematics majors can be employed in a manufacturing environment. Mark expects his experiences to make his teaching and advising more relevant to the students.

Al Hibbard had a semester sabbatical this past year. He worked on preparing his AbstractAlgebra package for version 6 of Mathematica, developed some webMathematica projects, and converted some database-driven web sites from Access to SQL Server.

Our department graduated 14 majors last year, two being just CS, eight being just Math, one being a double major in both and others being double majors with other interests. Several have gone onto graduate school and several into teaching and the rest in diverse directions.

On a personal note, Tom Linton and Wendy Weber had their first child (Jonathan) born in August.

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Coe College
Cal Van Niewaal

Students and faculty are enjoying the renovated facilities of the mathematical sciences department at Coe. The Lindsay Study Lounge has proven to be a popular space. As this is being written on December 1, five students are scattered around the study tables working on Putnam competition problems.

The Lindsay Seminar for first-year students is in its third year. Fifteen first-year students who have an aptitude for mathematics met one evening a week during the Fall Term with Jon White, to participate in activities designed to be both fun and challenging while introducing them to a wide variety of topics. No credit is awarded for participation in the Lindsay Seminar, the only rewards are the fun of doing mathematics and of course the Dairy Queen Sundaes and Blizzards that the Dean's office provides.

Five Coe students participated in off-campus internship and research programs this year. Greg Ongie spent the summer at University of Iowa as part of the Heartland partnership. Jill Steffen was in Maryland at the NSA and Thomas Britton worked at NIST. Sam Hegland worked on a summer project in England and Goldwater Scholar Ben Franta spent the summer and Fall Term in Greece.

Cal Van Niewaal spent Fall Term on sabbatical leave. In addition to developing materials for a new course on Robotics and Java programming, Cal taught linear algebra at Cornell during the month of September. Gavin Cross will be on leave for Spring Term.

The department sent out its first ever e-newsletter to alumni in July. The response was so good that we plan to send out e-newsletters once or twice annually.

The math club continues to be fairly active. In October club members (along with faculty members Linda Van Niewaal, Cal Van Niewaal and Jon White) joined students and faculty from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, and Nursing in sponsoring Coe's 5th annual Playground of Science for elementary students in the Cedar Rapids area. Nearly 1500 children and adults participated in an evening of math and science related activities. Math activities included making flexahexagons, exploring bubbles, rolling non-standard dice, and playing cram.

While enrollments in computer science classes have increased slightly, mathematics enrollments have exploded. To accommodate the demand some classes this fall had to be moved to larger rooms (Calculus III – 34 students, Probability and Statistics I – 22 students) and a second section of Foundations of Advanced Math was added to the spring schedule (41 students total). More students are taking advanced courses as well; 5 are planning to take Modern Algebra II and 4 are enrolled in Topology this spring. These are Coe's largest enrollments in mathematics in recent history.

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Iowa State University Mathematics Department
Stephen J. Willson

Several faculty are away from ISU during substantial parts of the academic year. Steve Willson is on sabbatical for the fall, visiting the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, U.K. Wolfgang Kliemann is on sabbatical for the year, visiting Santiago, Chile. Roger Maddux is on sabbatical for the year, visiting London in the spring. Zhijun Wu is visiting the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications in Minneapolis as New Directions Professor for the year. Heather Thompson is spending the academic year at California State University, Northridge.

There were no new assistant professors. The new Post Docs are Laura Cattaneo, Jason Grout, Tim Huber, and Alex Roitershtein.

Professor Leslie Hogben was named Associate Director for Program Diversity of the AIM (American Institute of Mathematics).

Hailiang Liu was promoted to Full Professor.

A search has begun for a new Chair of the Department to replace Professor Justin Peters, whose term is ending and who does not seek reappointment to the position.

Last year 7 students received M.S. degrees in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics, 4 received Ph.D. degrees, and 1 received an M.S. degree in Information Assurance.

An external review visit for the department took place October 11-12, 2007.

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Luther College
Ruth Berger

In 2007 we graduated 7 mathematics/statistic majors and 12 math majors (13 of the 19 were double majors with a field outside of math), 10 computer science majors and 16 math minors. Last year three teams of three students competed in the MCM (two Honorable Mentions), and a team of three participated in the ICMC. One Luther student studied in the Budapest program and three students participated in summer Math REU's. As an aside, this Fall math faculty and Math Club members had fun playing Math Pictionary together.

Joyce Becker is representing Luther in a University of Minnesota led NSF Grant tracking more than 30,000 Minnesota High School Graduates from 2002 and 2003. The NSF Project is evaluating different High School Mathematics Curricula ( Traditional Algebra, Geometry, Algebra vs. the newer Integrated and Core-Plus Programs ) as it leads to success in college. Joyce has accepted a recent 3 year appointment as NCTM Representative to the Board of Directors of ICTM. As such she will be representing Iowa at the National Meetings as a voting member of the Delegate Assembly. Joyce spoke at the 2007 ICTM Meeting in West Des Moines at two sessions on the topic "Wheel of Fortune-Mathematics Version " sharing a game she wrote for use in Junior and Senior High Mathematics classrooms.

Ruth Berger is still coordinating the Iowa Collegiate Undergraduate Math Competition.

Richard Bernatz and Luther student Brad Crawford collaborated on a summer research projected that resulted in a presentation by Crawford entitled "A Mathematical Model for Nitrogen Flow in Small Watersheds" at the 2007 Physical Sciences and Mathematics Undergraduate Research Symposium held at the University of Chicago November 9-11.

Reginald Laursen expanded his manuscript "Calculus Motivated Precalculus Transitioning to Calculus One" for Luther's integrated Precalculus/Calculus courses. It is being class tested this Fall and January Term.

Paul Savariappan, a PhD Statistician, has joined our faculty in a tenure track position. Paul is originally from India, he got his Master's and PhD degree in Statistics at the University of Madras. He also got a Master's degree in Biomathematics from Marquette University. Last year he was a visiting Assistant professor at Northwestern College in Orange City, IA. Dr. Paul is interested in Bayesian Data Analysis, Stochastic Process and its applications.

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Wartburg College
Mariah Birgen

Lynn Olson has stepped down as Department Liaison. Brian Birgen received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. He received the Student selected Teaching Award for Wartburg College. He and his wife Mariah Birgen had their daughter, Caroline, who has been spending significant time on campus this Fall. Richard Chilcoat left to take a position at ETS, so Wartburg is planning on hiring a faculty member in Math Education this year. I September, Neil Martinsen-Burrell spoke to a packed house at the Wartburg Philosophy and Literary Society on "What is the Truth? Incorporating Data and Models". Josef Breutzmann has been on Sabbatical Fall term. The department has just been approved to change our 2 semester Calculus sequence to a 2 semester Calculus sequence - one semester on Applied Calculus and then one semester on Foundational Calculus. For more information, come to the Section meeting.

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